Everton v Chelsea – Match preview and team news

Rafa Benitez returns to Merseyside as his Chelsea side search for a fourth consecutive Premier League victory and keep up the heat on Manchester City and Manchester United at the top.

Indeed, having been frustrated by goalless draws in his opening few games as interim boss, Benitez has seen his Blues net 14 times in their last three matches in league and cup. However, Champions League chasing Everton will provide as stern a test as they come, unbeaten at Goodison Park all season and last defeated in mid-November at Reading.

The Toffees are hopeful of having Darron Gibson available after the Irish midfielder limped off at half-time during the Boxing Day victory over Wigan. Elsewhere, Seamus Coleman is also could also return from a hamstring injury but vital midfielder Marouane Fellaini remains absence through suspension, adding to the injury problems faced by Kevin Miralles and Tony Hibbert which continue to see them sidelined.

Chelsea are expected to bring Ramires back into the starting line-up after the Brazilian sat out the win at Norwich with a knee injury, while John Obi Mikel and Ryan Bertrand are set to undergo fitness tests on knee and groin injuries respectively. Captain John Terry remains missing however with a long-standing knee injury, although a return to the first-team may not be too far away.

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